Carlos Cobreran named a very strong team, which raised expectations for a good start to Leeds’ defence of the PDL National Title and for 70 minutes it looked like that’s what we would get.
Imagine being a Millwall u23 player turning up and there's Costa, Clarke, Shackleton, Alioski and a French u20 goalkeeper— The Adelites (@theadelites) August 19, 2019
Goals from Pascal Struijk and Eddie Nketiah gave Leeds a comfortable lead - but Leeds switched off and goals from George Alexander and Eastenders’ Billy Mitchell brought Millwall level. Leeds didn’t particularly look like getting a winner but then Bogusz’s deflected free-kick got Leeds the 3-2 win.
Illan Meslier - First match in a Leeds shirt for the Lorient loanee. Claimed an early corner before dropping it at the feet of a Millwall player - However, he was clearly fouled. Looked to release the ball quickly whenever he got it, didn’t get it right 100% of the time but that is the sort of thing Marcelo Bielsa looks for.
Really unlucky Meslier great penalty save— Senior VAR Representative (@backagain31) August 19, 2019
Made a good save with his feet from a deflected Tyler Burey effort and denied former Leeds striker Tom Elliott’s strike from the edge of the box with a relatively simple save. Showed great confidence to come for a long free-kick and punch the ball from the box to the halfway line. Great penalty save from the France u20 international to tip George Alexander’s penalty onto the post but unfortunately the rebound was scored. No chance on Millwall’s second goal. 8/10
75' Millwall pull one back from the penalty spot. Illan Meslier saves the initial strike, but can't stop the follow up. 2-1 pic.twitter.com/uDkWxtqlkD— Leeds United (@LUFC) August 19, 2019
Robbie Gotts - Great energy up and down the right hand side but most of Leeds work in the first half was down the left so you didn’t see the best of him. Slightly more involved second half, quiet day but didn’t make many errors either. 6/10
A good 1st half from #lufc 23s a bit scrappy in bits but to be expected in the 1st game of the 23s season season. McCalmont Gotts Strujik Shackleton Hossanah as per from last season showing lovely touches,the team play with so much pace & energy #lufc— Benny (@BennyTaylsLUFC) August 19, 2019
Bryce Hosannah - Looked confident bringing the ball out from right-centre back. Had a knock early on but recovered well. Brilliant defending early in the second half when Millwall countered following a Leeds corner, timing his tackle perfectly to stop the danger. Should have got an assist with some great work bring Leeds forward 60 yards before putting Eddie Nketiah through on goal.
Gave away a penalty with a really poor challenge that he will no doubt be disappointed with and lead to Leeds’ collapse for 20 minutes (which he and Struijk weren’t great during) - a blot on an otherwise good performance. 6.5/10
Pascal Struijk - Both him and Hosannah weren’t at their best playing the ball out for the first 15 minutes. Made a couple of good strong tackles early on. Scored the opening goal with a well struck finish following an Alioski pull-back. Scored a few last season for the u23s so hopefully he can keep that up. Organised the defence well at seemed to get stronger and more confident as the match went on. As culpable as anyone else for the poor 20 minutes that let Millwall back into the match. 7/10
40' GOAL! The U23s take the lead after Alioski finds Pascal Struijk in the box, before the defender finds the back of the net with his strike! 1-0 pic.twitter.com/1L6CqDklkg— Leeds United (@LUFC) August 19, 2019
Ezgjan Alioski - Looked comfortable both defensively and going forward as you would expect with his experience. Put in an excellent cross for Jordan Stevens for a great chance. His next good cross wasn’t wasted as his pull-back was finished well by Struijk. 7/10
Alfie McCalmont - Passing was tidy early on and he showed good discipline to drop back between the centre-backs when needed both defensively and to give a passing option. Tidy in the Phillips role for most of the match, didn’t provide enough protection during the bad 20 minutes. 6.5/10
Jamie Shackleton - Forced a great save from Ryan Sandford with a curling effort from the edge of the box. Was fairly tidy with the rest of his play, decent outing for the England youth international. 6.5/10
Helder Costa - Didn’t get on the ball enough from the right in the opening 25 minutes but when he did he showed some phenomenal footwork to beat players. Didn’t do enough overall considering the ability that the Portugal international has. 6/10
Kun Temenuzhkov - Switched between the number 10 and the left and looked marginally more comfortable in the middle - although much of his passing was far too wayward. The young Bulgaria man was Leeds’ poorest player - snatched at a chance to put Leeds 3-2 up with 10 minutes left. Stood out, because he had a bad day. 4.5/10
kuns passing is about as accurate as my footballing opinions— (@ellandread) August 19, 2019
Jack Clarke - Lively first 5 minutes, setting up a chance and having one himself early on. Linked up well with Alioski a few times in the opening 15 minutes. Wonderful left-footed through ball to find Jordan Stevens in the build up to the second goal, a moment of real quality. Looked more dangerous in the second half than the first - seemed to enjoy being predominantly on the right wing more than he did being mostly on the left. Leeds didn’t use him enough following the second goal. 7/10
Jordan Stevens - New role for him as the number nine. Had a good headed chance from an Alioski cross with which he should have done better. Moved out to the wing following Nketiah’s introduction at half-time. Set up Leeds’ second goal with an excellent left-foot ball in behind for Eddie Nketiah. Looked much more comfortable wide than he did through the middle. 7/10
Mateusz Bogusz (for Shackleton, HT) - The Poland youth player opened with a couple of raking crossfield passes that got Leeds into dangerous positions. Forced a couple of decent saves with efforts from the edge of the box. Won Leeds the game with a deflected 95th minute free-kick, the last kick of the game, to win it for the home side. Always looked a danger for Millwall. 7.5/10
96' GOAL! Mateusz Bogusz scores with the last kick-of the game! What a game to the start the new season for the U23s. 3-2 pic.twitter.com/FTcyzY8hJS— Leeds United (@LUFC) August 19, 2019
Gaetano Berardi (for Alioski, HT) - Not his best day. As an experienced player you would want the Switzerland international to help more during the last 20 minutes when Leeds started to struggle, but he looked no calmer nor more solid than those around him. 6/10
Eddie Nketiah (for Costa, HT) - Scored only 10 minutes after coming on with a calm finish following good work from Clarke and Stevens. Looked a constant threat with his running in behind and his hold up play was good as well. Once Leeds started to play poorly the last 20 minutes he was quiet, but that was not down to him. 7.5/10